Saving Lives at Birth

Grand Challenges Canada, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Government of Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) have joined together to support Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development. Together, we call for groundbreaking prevention and treatment approaches for pregnant women and newborns in poor, hard-to-reach communities around the time of childbirth.



If we are to accelerate substantial and sustainable progress against maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths at the community level, results-driven leaders and innovative approaches to prevention and treatment across three main domains are needed:

  1. Science and technology
  2. Service delivery
  3. “Demand-side” innovation that empowers pregnant women and their families to practice healthy behaviours, and to be aware of and access timely healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth and the postnatal period, especially within the first two days after birth.

Significant breakthroughs often come about when new ideas and disciplines are applied to long-entrenched problems. New approaches can transform insurmountable development challenges into seemingly solvable problems. To harness this ingenuity, we encourage partnerships that bring together diverse expertise from non-traditional partners, particularly those that include private sector partners.


Since 2011, Saving Lives at Birth has supported 98 exciting and potentially transformational solutions to tackle this grand challenge to dramatically improve women’s and newborns’ health. Learn more about the projects and watch short videos: Saving Lives at Birth Innovators.

Saving Lives at Birth grantees who have completed a minimum of nine months of their grant, who have demonstrated proof of concept and have solutions that are ready to scale are invited to submit a Letter of Intent for the Grand Challenges Canada Phase II – Transition-to-Scale program. Grand Challenges Canada Phase II – Transition-to-Scale grants require 50% matching through partnerships to be eligible for Grand Challenges Canada funding.

For more information about Saving Lives at Birth, visit


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